East Texas – Day 9

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June 7th 2011
Published: June 8th 2011
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Day 9

We spent the night in Tyler and were just a hop, skip and jump from our next stop, Kilgore. Our time in Kilgore was a high water mark of this road trip as we saw some old friends.

If you ever had anything to do with the plumbing industry (I did), you can’t think of Kilgore, TX without thinking of Kilgore Ceramics. Kilgore Ceramics was a major plumbing manufacturer in Texas that had distribution throughout Texas and the United States for years. The company got its start in the late '40s and was ultimately sold to Armitage Shanks of England in the ‘80s and later to Mansfield Plumbing.

I have served on the on the board of Mo-Ranch, a Presbyterian retreat facility in Hunt, TX, for about a year. One of my fellow board members is a great guy named Jerry Camp, from Kilgore, TX. When I found out Jerry was from Kilgore, I asked him if he know Dan Ballenger and Pete Keiser. Did he know them, Jerry told me he sees them every week and they are good friends! So I kept up with Dan and Pete through Jerry at our board meetings. When Kay and I
the old Kilgore Ceramics plantthe old Kilgore Ceramics plantthe old Kilgore Ceramics plant

sadly, Mansfield shut down the facility a few years after they bought it
decided to take this road trip, I contacted Jerry to see if he could set up a lunch with Dan and Pete. It was great to see them again! We had lunch at McKay’s Ranch House Restaurant (great food by the way) and then went over to Dan’s house to continue the visit.

Dan had had been with Kilgore almost from the beginning and ultimately became President of the company. Pete came on board in the’60s and served as Vice President of Sales. A couple of quality guys and seeing them again we had a lot of catching up to do! After spending the better part of an afternoon and having a flood of great memories, we said our good byes and got back on the road. More tomorrow!

Additional photos below
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18th February 2013
the old Kilgore Ceramics plant

I am wondering if any of you could tell me about the tile I have in a house we are trying to buy. The house was built in 1949 and I have been told the tile is from Kilgore ceramics. One of the colors is a light blue and the other is a light pink. I want to keep this part of history in this house, but would like to know what the true names were and if I can get more if the contractor should damage any when we remodel. The house is in Henderson, Tx. I realize you did not work there, but maybe you could lead me in the right direction to get a little more history on these tiles.

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